How can I tell if my baby is getting enough to eat? Breastfeeding


mom breastfeeding baby boy
It's not always easy to tell if your baby has had her fill of breast milk. Here are some expert- and mom-approved solutions for knowing when baby is breastfeeding enough.

Count Diapers

"You want to make sure your baby is wetting at least six diapers in a 24-hour span. It seems hard to tell how much a baby is taking in while breastfeeding, but wet diapers are an easy way to track it." -- Skyler Gardner, RN, BSN, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts

See the Pediatrician Regularly

"If your baby is gaining weight and growing on their curve, they are getting enough to eat."

-- Heidi Miller, MS, speech language pathologist and feeding specialist, Heidi Miller Speech LLC, Florham Park, NJ

Feed on Demand

"Newborns should be fed on demand, whenever they show hunger cues. If baby has eaten well and is satisfied, you will see that she either self-releases [or] is drowsy, content, or both after a feed, and that her hands are relaxed and no longer clenched. We sometimes refer to this as 'milk drunk.' Breasts will also feel softer and less full after a feed." -- Emily Silver, MS, NP-C, Boston NAPS, Boston, MA

Don't Watch the Clock

"Keep a newborn as close to your breasts as much as possible and feed frequently. You'd be surprised by how much she's able to take in during short little stints. The small bit they get when comfort nursing is still something in the belly."

Don't Let Time Trip You Up

"I've found the amount of time baby eats doesn't matter -- it's the number of times and diapers. Offer the breast every two hours during the daytime and every three to four hours during the nighttime. As long as baby does not act hungry, don't worry about length of each feeding."

Watch Baby's Behavior

"As long as she is growing, meeting milestones, and is active, happy, [and] healthy, you don't have to worry about her weight. It means less than most people think. Not everyone gains at the same rate and not everyone can be average weight."

Let Baby Lead the Way

"Baby knows what to do and how much to eat. Don't worry -- especially if he is gaining weight and has sufficient diaper counts!"

The advice on CafeMom aims to educate, inform, and provide a range of solutions to the issues moms care about. It is not a substitute for consultation with a medical professional or treatment for a specific condition. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem without consulting a qualified professional. Please contact your health-care provider with questions and concerns.